COVID-19 brought challenges to event creators everywhere, but one of the greatest pivots was in the music industry. In-person events were put on indefinite hold, and artists shifted to performing live online concerts. Event creators put their ingenuity to the test, coming up with innovative socially distanced virtual concerts in 2021.

Some of our favourite creative shifts came from the creators on our platform. Global collective The Sofa Singers formed to host global get-togethers where everyone can sing along from their own living room. For those who missed trips to the theatre, UPLIFT is still serving up live musical numbers online, offering fun for all the family.

Fortunately, it looks like events are getting back to normal in 2022. Vaccination rates are up, and restrictions are easing. In-person events are starting to return with increasing frequency. However, many creators have found that hosting online events has its perks, from more diverse virtual venue options to bringing people together from around the world. We’ve explored 10 ways creators are upgrading their virtual concerts to keep them going in 2022.

10 Virtual Concert Ideas

From offering a VIP experience to creating a virtual dancefloor, here are some virtual concert ideas that will take your show to the next level.

1. Offer merch packages

One of the benefits of attending a concert has always been exclusive merchandise. This doesn’t have to change if your concert is virtual. Offer exclusive merch like t-shirts and records to attendees before, during, and after the event. Consider a merch package or add-on that can be purchased alongside tickets and sent to a home address so that your audience can enjoy their new swag and the livestream at the same time.

If your event is both live and virtual, don’t forget to offer merch packages at the door, too. Attendees will enjoy browsing at the sales counter and spending on concert souvenirs.

2. Get fans excited with related events

Build anticipation for your online concerts by inviting ticket-holders to other events related to your theme or the featured musicians. Host a fan art contest with prizes like free tickets or merchandise, or put together karaoke sessions in which fans can belt out their best cover versions of your performers’ songs. Have contests among participants to see who picks the best crowd-pleasing song or knows all the words to the artists’ most popular songs. Giveaways can include a virtual meet-and-greet with the event performer.

Extra events like these are also great opportunities to sell merch, boost ticket sales, and create shareable content.

3. Create a VIP experience

The more you pay for a concert ticket, the closer to the performance you’re likely to be. But everyone has the same vantage point for a livestream virtual concert, so paying extra for premium seating won’t be an option. You can still provide your attendees with tiered experiences, though: create an exclusive feel with VIP packages at different price points and offer perks like song requests, virtual meet-and-greets, shout-outs, bonus content, or access to a Q&A with the performers.

4. Make it a series

More concerts mean more ticket sales and the opportunity to showcase more artists. Pick a theme or cause – International Women’s Day, for example, or Black History Month – and plan a series of live virtual concerts showcasing a number of relevant performers and raising donations. Allow attendees to follow the series online so they can stay informed about future events. If your event is structured like a multi-day music festival, with exciting performances at multiple online ‘stages’, chances are your attendees will stick around to see more than one act.

5. Include more performers

You can also bring together multiple performers for one larger event made up of smaller sets, like a virtual music festival, rather than featuring a single headliner. With more artists involved, you’ll pique the interest of a greater pool of potential attendees.

6. Offer unique extras

In many ways, virtual concerts are more convenient than live ones. Attendees will love that they don’t have to wait in long lines for admission and merch or pay premium prices for food, beverages, and parking. And online concerts lend themselves to bonus experiences that make watching from home a treat. Consider add-ons like special cover performances, screenings of creative music videos, throwback shows of older albums, or an unplugged virtual event celebrating the anniversary of a hit song or album.

7. Make it a fundraiser

The music industry is still recovering – so why not donate some, or all, of your proceeds to a great musical cause? Choose charitable causes that resonate with attendees, or find out if the performers have a cause close to their hearts and tie it into the event. It will boost interest and ticket sales.

Whether you’re raising money for education programmes, health research, or social justice, contributing profits to charitable causes can make an enormous social impact. And at the end of the day, your organisation is doing good, and your concert-goers will feel good about where they spend their money.

8. Get more intimate

It can be hard to recreate the closeness of an in-person concert during an online concert streaming. Setting up a Q&A with your performers or behind-the-scenes video content like chatting with the artist, then either streaming it live or taping it to play during intermission, can give your attendees that up-close-and-personal feeling. If your performers are well-known for their danceable music, let your attendees experience the energy in their homes with a virtual dance floor.

Getting creative with the venue space can make the event feel more intimate for your remote attendees. It can also give you room for the performers and their equipment. Car parks or garden areas can be turned into outdoor event spaces. String some lights, add artist posters, and you have a space for your event.

9. Add real-time chat

Livestreaming services like Zoom and Twitch offer chat services so that attendees can interact with each other while they enjoy the music, which is an aspect of live concert-going that many are missing. This won’t interrupt your performers, and if any of your attendees would rather sit back and just listen to the music event, they can easily minimise the chat.

The option of chatting with fellow participants makes audiences feel like they’re part of the show. Sharing the experience with others is an important element of any music event. It can also foster feelings of community, something many have been missing.

10. Turn it into a hybrid event

If you have space and local regulations allow, consider a drive-in event that’s also livestreamed for fans who can’t make it in person. Drive-in events have grown by 1,200% on Eventbrite, and they’re a great way to give attendees the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor concert.

With creative marketing materials, you can successfully advertise your hybrid event. You can also protect artists’ and in-person attendees’ health by implementing a few common-sense safety precautions. Before creating a hybrid event, talk your idea over with the artists.

Everyone needs to be on the same page for the programme to be a success for everyone involved. Don’t forget to include a health and safety regulations checklist in your attendees’ ticket packages. Before planning and hosting any event, remember to check the latest federal and local guidelines.

Some tech tips for success

With the right tools and proper planning, you can put on a memorable virtual music event to rival any in-person concert. The venue you’re streaming from may have high-quality equipment you can use. If not, keep in mind that a clear picture and beautiful sound quality are essential. A Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera, which can be operated remotely, will offer high-quality video. You can also consider hiring a sound engineer to help ensure that nothing takes away from your artists’ performances. Look into your options for a robust internet connection and the right streaming service for your needs to prevent any glitches or a dropped wireless signal.

When it’s time to launch your event, our virtual events platform is here to help you with marketing, ticketing, and day-of-event logistics.

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